University News

Hitchner ’10 survived by network of friends

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, March 14, 2011

Jason Hitchner ’10 died in his sleep late Wednesday. An advocate for social causes during his time at Brown, Hitchner was described by those who knew him as a friendly and passionate young man.

Hitchner’s friends and family celebrated his remarkable ability to look at the world from diverse and profound perspectives. They remembered his creativity, his intellect and his wonderful sense of humor. They admired his openness to the world and his courage and confidence in exploring it. They treasured his gift of making those around him feel comfortable and appreciated and the habit he had of bringing the people he loved closer together.

Hitchner’s friends alluded frequently to his extraordinary friendliness. He never had trouble making friends, they said, no matter where he was or what he was doing there.

“I don’t think there was ever anyone that ever had any problems with him,” said Gregory Anderson ’10, who lived with Hitchner on Keeney Quadrangle during their first year. This friendliness took Hitchner far — he spent the first semester of his junior year abroad in Melbourne and decided to stay second semester as well. He spent three months after graduation touring Europe and visiting the friends he had made in Australia.

Hitchner participated in Brown’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Students for a Democratic Society and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

“He was very committed to progressive social issues,” Anderson said. “He was a very excited person” no matter what he was doing, he added.

“He would make pop culture sound really intelligent when we would watch Lady Gaga videos,” said Katie Glerum ’10, one of Hitchner’s close friends.

He also had passionate, informed opinions about art and culture. “He could not watch a show without ruining it for someone,” Glerum said. She recalled his energy and sense of humor and recounted the time when their friendship was first solidified.

“I was wearing this really weird stretchy green sweater, and he put it on, and then he rolled down the hallway,” she said. “He was really funny.”

Hitchner’s extraordinary interpersonal abilities complemented his impressive mathematical and scientific ability. He graduated from Brown with a bachelor of science in civil engineering.

“The most important thing to remember about Jason is how passionate he was about everything he did,” said Elizabeth Langevin ’10, another of Hitchner’s friends. “He was so friendly and kind to everyone he met.” Whether he was at home or abroad, discussing science or politics, those who remember him agree that, with his natural humanity and warm disposition, he inspired people to notice the positive qualities in others and to attract them as friends.

“It was nice to see all of his friends band together” after his death, Glerum said. “I think it was a good reflection on how good a friend Jason was.”

Langevin said Hitchner’s bright personality survives him. “He really left a pretty strong mark on everyone he met and everyone he knew.”

A viewing was held in Hitchner’s honor in Ventnor, N.J., yesterday afternoon.

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